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Tools of the talent trade

Is it time you took a fresh look at your talent management processes? Here are some innovative tools:

Talent management tools are constantly evolving to meet the needs of business’ changing workforce requirements and demographics. Many now include elements such as real-time employee feedback, candidate relationship management, culture assessment and even gamification. We take a peek at what four organisations are doing to source, identify and develop top talent.

Thomson Reuters

Three years ago media giant Thomson Reuters moved from a standalone talent management system to using Workday’s package, which combines employee information with the company’s performance management and rating scores.

“Where important roles come up we can look at the data we have, not just where someone is based or what job family they’re in but their potential rating and whether they are likely to move up through the organisation,” explains Nicholas Cresswell, vice president of performance and talent management. Importantly this can be used by managers as well as HR, while employees can also view and update information around their aspirations and experience. “It frees up HR from time spent putting data in databases to actually analysing and making use of that data,” says Cresswell.

However, he admits that so far the company has yet to fully exploit the system. In future the team would like to turn their attention to the potential for it to identify candidates who might have been overlooked, as well as spotting those who could be considering leaving the business.

Valor Hospitality Europe

To support its ambitious growth plans Valor Hospitality Europe looked to replace its paper-based talent management system with Purple Cubed’s Talent Toolbox, which makes use of manager and employee feedback regarding core cultural and behavioural objectives to ensure more productive performance conversations.

“It’s not just about ticking a box and giving someone a rating but requires commentary to be added and noted, and development solutions to be identified as it goes through,” says Moira Laird, HR director. “The back end sets goals for the individual over a period and identifies what the best solution and learning style is for them.” The package also enables HR and managers to identify high-performers and what is needed development-wise to transform them into future leaders.

Thames Valley Police

Thames Valley Police moved to Head Light’s Talent Performance system in 2014 with the aim of helping the organisation track officers’ performance against particular objectives. It runs this alongside Talent 360, which allows colleagues to provide feedback on each other’s performance.

“If an individual completes a 360 it informs their CPD page on the same piece of software,” says Alison Sercombe, HR business partner for leadership and career development at Thames Valley Police. “The management information available allows me to see across the organisation, which helps transparency and openness around the annual assessment process.”


Consultancy firm Deloitte has used gamification to assess school leavers’ potential when applying to join the business. “The game is about catching fireflies, and there are a number of different levels candidates can go through,” says Rob Fryer, head of student recruitment. “We’re looking at resilience, innovation and their propensity around risk. All of these things help build up a personality profile that we wouldn’t have otherwise.”

So far around 1,000 people have taken the test, and the aim is to extend this to graduates in the near future.